Sonari Glinton

Sonari Glinton is a NPR Business Desk Correspondent based at our NPR West bureau. He covers the auto industry, consumer goods, and consumer behavior, as well as marketing and advertising for NPR and Planet Money.

In this position, which he has held since late 2010, Glinton has tackled big stories including GM's road back to profitability and Toyota's continuing struggles. In addition, Glinton covered the 2012 presidential race, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as the U.S. Senate and House for NPR.

Glinton came to NPR in August 2007 and worked as a producer for All Things Considered. Over the years Glinton has produced dozen of segments about the great American Song Book and pop culture for NPR's signature programs most notably the 50 Great Voices piece on Nat King Cole feature he produced for Robert Siegel.

Glinton began his public radio career as an intern at Member station WBEZ in Chicago. He worked his way through his public radio internships working for Chicago Jazz impresario Joe Segal, waiting tables and meeting legends such as Ray Brown, Oscar Brown Jr., Marian MacPartland, Ed Thigpen, Ernestine Andersen, and Betty Carter.

Glinton attended Boston University. A Sinatra fan since his mid-teens, Glinton's first forays into journalism were album revues and a college jazz show at Boston University's WTBU. In his spare time Glinton indulges his passions for baking, vinyl albums, and the evolution of the Billboard charts.

Last year was yet another good one for the U.S. auto industry. Overall, 17.2 million vehicles were sold in 2017 — one of its five all-time best years — and profits were high.

Automakers aren't rejoicing — sales declined about 2 percent after reaching a record in 2016. And, despite a good economy, analysts predict another drop this year.

"I can tell you (we're) coming off a plateau in the last couple of years for sure," says Mark Scarpelli, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Automakers are watching closely as the Trump administration tries to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the latest round of talks is under way in Mexico City this week.

NAFTA touches almost every business sector — few more than the car industry. Automakers say that changing the agreement could boost their costs and make them less competitive.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


As car companies make strides toward expanding the reach of electric cars in the U.S., the same is happening in the world of two wheels.

Outside the U.S., motorcycles, mopeds and scooters are vital, affordable forms of transportation that alleviate congestion. They also run on fossil fuels, and many of the smaller motors are more polluting than regular cars.

California has the toughest air quality regulations of any state in the country. But they're not tough enough to satisfy a new state law that requires California to double the rate at which it cuts greenhouse gases.

So this month, the California Air Resources Board approved a plan it says is aimed at "decarbonizing" the state's economy.

The students entering college are not millennials. The next generation, Generation Z, has arrived. The oldest in the group are in their early 20s.

Not only have they never known a world without the Internet, some have had smartphones since middle school.

And for this group, memes, animated GIFs and emojis are second nature, says Geoff Nunberg, a linguist who does features on language on NPR's Fresh Air.

There's more than cars at an auto show.

Auto shows are not only a place for consumers but for vendors, executives, reporters, activists, investors and consumers. They are more like conventions. With 10,000 parts on a car, that means a lot of vendors.

You can see how different Tesla is from the rest of the car companies at a place like the LA Auto Show. At the Tesla booth, there's no glitz, or models leaning seductively. But it's swamped during a showing for journalists.

One of three Tesla car models on display at the show is the Model 3, aimed at the mass market. It's not only the car that's supposed to take Tesla mainstream but also the one to bring it to profitability.

But CEO Elon Musk's company has missed its production goals, and analysts wonder whether he's spreading himself too thin.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


It is Black Friday. It's a big day for retailers, and this year seems like the perfect setup. Unemployment is low. The stock market is strong. So is that going to mean big-time holiday shopping? NPR's Sonari Glinton is out there getting a firsthand look.

Hey, Sonari.

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What happens when you're faced with a workforce that seems unwelcoming or even hostile? For people like Dennis Jackson, often the answer is to become your own boss.

In Los Angeles, he is making the best of an October heat wave by selling solar panels. Jackson says he has essentially always been an entrepreneur. He started in landscaping and moved toward solar panel installation.

The dead don't have to do any work. For the rest of us, though, death is expensive and complex. There's real estate to be hunted, and coffins to be purchased, and insurance to be procured.

Sonari Glinton takes us to visit some of the most expensive real estate in the world, where supply is limited. The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park is one of the most exclusive pieces of property in Los Angeles, the cemetery is nearly full, but customers keep coming to buried alongside stars like Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


In this week's All Tech Considered, we look at technology in cars.


Note: This episode originally aired in September 2015.

Roddey Player knows appliances. He was sweeping the floors of his family's appliance business, Queen City Appliance, when he was eight years old. Eventually, he became a salesman, and then the CEO. But in 2012, Queen City Appliances was in trouble. Roddey tried everything to avoid the big failure: bankruptcy.

Tesla gets more than its fair share of media hype, but it appears to be stumbling in the spotlight.

Citing "production bottlenecks," Tesla reported this week that it delivered only 220 Model 3 sedans and produced 260 in September. That's far below some pretty ambitious goals set out by its CEO, Elon Musk.

With more than 1 million autos damaged in recent U.S. hurricanes, car rental firms have had to move vehicles quickly into affected areas. The ability to manage large fleets involves artificial intelligence and data — tools that are keys to a future of self-driving fleets.

Often even before the first rain falls in a hurricane, rental cars are on the way.

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Ever since its fabled role in World War II, Jeep has been an American icon. And now the famous U.S. brand may be sold to a Chinese company.

Jeep was primarily made for the United Sates military, starting in 1941. It was used to transport troops during World War II, and that's when the rugged-looking vehicle captured the imagination of people worldwide.

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Classic car shows are a summer tradition. But if you want the most exotic, rare, and the most expensive cars in the world, then you need to head to the Monterey Peninsula, Calif. The 67th annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance caps off a week of intensive, obsessive car love.

The Concours this year features 204 of the highest-caliber cars that have ever been made. Essentially, the international car world descends on the region. Fifteen countries and 31 states enter the elite car show held on the famed 18th hole of the Pebble Beach golf course.

The Trump administration has begun the process of rolling back tough fuel standards for America's car and light truck fleet.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025.

While more than 500,000 people have put down a deposit for the privilege of owning Tesla's new Model 3, according to the company, 30 employees were the lucky few to receive their vehicles first.

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Subprime lending is back. We're not talking about homes this time. Automakers and banks have been extending more credit to those with less than perfect credit scores, and that has some worried about a subprime car bubble. Here's NPR's Sonari Glinton.

Friday is a big day for Tesla. The automaker's very first Model 3 will roll off the assembly line, the culmination of years of planning, engineering and hype.

Elon Musk, the company's co-founder and chief executive, has been promising an affordable long-range electric car meant for the masses. He first wrote about the dream vehicle in the company's not-so-secret Secret Plan in 2006.

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Volvo, the maker of sturdy, boxy, safe, if sometimes boring cars is going electric. The Swedish car company says all of its vehicles will have electric technology by 2019. NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

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Ford Motor Company's new CEO, Jim Hackett has a pretty daunting job description: prepare Ford for a future of self-driving cars and keep things profitable by selling trucks. While Hackett has a unique set of skills, that's still an extremely tall order.

Ford Motor Company is different than the other car companies.